Evangelism can be a scary word. What does it even mean? Do I have to have some special gifts? What counts as evangelism?
It’s quite simple, Thabiti Anyabwile helpfully defines it as “a work of communication in which Christians make themselves mouthpieces for God’s message of mercy to sinners.” It’s proclaiming the gospel! What better message is there? I find talking about Jesus really hard sometimes. But reminding myself of what he’s accomplished for us on the Cross, and the need of my friends and family to know this salvation, is both an encouragement and a challenge.
I’m a student at Queen Mary University and a couple of weeks ago we had our Christian Union mission week. If you don’t know what this is, every year we have daily events for a week with the purpose of sharing that message of God’s mercy. Prior to the week, in our CU central meeting, we looked at Jesus’ words to us in the Great Commission. Whilst that quote above doesn’t do much to ease our fears, Jesus has words for us which can bring radical confidence and joy. He says to his disciples:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
We looked at the four ‘all’s’ in the verse. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. What great news this is! Jesus is the one who is in perfect control and who has authority over our lives. Therefore, we’re told to go and make disciples of all nations. This is particularly exciting in London, as the nations have come to us! Even more exciting is that at Queen Mary there are students from countries where it’s illegal for Christians to share the gospel. There are people like that in workplaces and universities across the city. This gives all of us in London such a unique opportunity to reach the nations. Jesus then tells his disciples to teach obedience to all that he has commanded them. It’s important not to hide the uncomfortable bits of the gospel in evangelism. We’re to be honest and open about the cost of following Jesus. This looks different for everyone but for all of us it means making God and what he says in the Bible the authority in our lives, not ourselves. Finally, Jesus tells his disciples that he is with them always, to the very end of the age. Jesus was always with his followers, and as Christians today, he is always with us. This brings such joy and assurance and was something I was able to hold on to during mission week. In whatever the CU and I were doing, Jesus had promised to be with us. It’s his mission, he has the authority, and we have the privilege of declaring how wonderful his gospel is!
As we do evangelism, we don’t do it in our own strength or in our own power. Jesus is the one with authority and he is the one with us. As we look forward to March and as we look for opportunities to invite our friends and colleagues to church, let’s be bold and confident knowing that we are called to be mouthpieces for God’s message of mercy to sinners. He has saved us from his own right judgment and has brought us into his Kingdom, to be with him forever. Let’s encourage and challenge each other with this amazing commission as we head into March.
 The Gospel Coalition: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabiti-anyabwile/evangelism-defined/